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Healthcare System holds nursing job fair

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The Brant Community Healthcare System is hoping a job fair on Wednesday that it hopes will help them deal with an ongoing shortage of nurses.

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“We’re hoping to recruit as many nurses as possible as we currently have 102 vacancies,” Alena Lukich, a spokesperson for the healthcare system, said.

The healthcare system is looking for 78 registered nurses and 24 registered practical nurses. The positions include nursing roles in many specialty areas including emergency, critical care, the operating room and centralized resources.

The job fair takes place at Brantford General Hospital from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Anyone looking for more information about specific jobs can visit www.bchsys.org.

The Brant healthcare system, like many hospitals across the province, finds itself facing a nursing shortage, as well well as other healthcare professionals. It has about 730 nurses at Brantford General Hospital and another 30 at Willett Urgent Care Centre in Paris.

“Since April 1, 2021, we have had a total of 82 registered nurses/registered practical nurses leave the organization and have hired 91 external registered nurses and registered practical nurses since that same date,” Lukich said. “As a general trend, our turnover rate has increased this year.”

Staff leave the organization because they find full-time employment elsewhere or at their other places of employment. Some may be going back to school, others for personal reasons and still others decide to take earlier retirements, Lukich said.

“We know that burnout plays a role in these decisions, especially given the challenges that nurses have faced over the past 18 months of the pandemic,” Lukich said.

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Lukich praised the efforts of the healthcare system staff as they continue to work tirelessly through a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They have done an exceptional job and we’re proud of their dedication and efforts,” Lukich said. “This pandemic has been physically and mentally taxing on them, but they continue to answer the call and care for patients despite challenges.”

Doris Grinspun, CEO of the Registered Nurses of Ontario, said there was a shortage of registered nurses prior to the start of COVID-19. The association represents registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario.

The shortage has worsened because of COVID-19 and the length of the pandemic, Grinspun said.

To help cope with the pandemic, the province opened more beds at hospitals and increased the workload of nurses. At the same time wage increases have been capped at a one-percent increase.

Told of the job fair at Brantford General, Grinspun wished heathcare system officials luck. Recruitment would be a lot easier and more successful if the one per cent cap on wage increases was suddenly lifted, she said.

Other factors that will influence the success of the job fair is the willingness to help nurses create a career, Grinspun said.

Nurses are looking to build careers and are looking for ways to do that within organizations. They’re looking for ways to upgrade their skills and move into other positions.

Grinspun said she has heard hospitals offering bonuses to nurses but said they don’t work. People simply take the bonus and a few months later move to another hospital and get another bonus.

Hospital officials should instead offer to help nurses with furthering their education as a way of keeping them within their organizations.

Lukich said the healthcare system is not offering bonuses to nurses at this time.

She also said the healthcare system is in negotiations with Norfolk General Hospital over staffing now that labour and delivery is being moved from Simcoe to BGH.

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